Pro-govt paper distorts Times article on Turkish elections

“Erdoğan is bound to win the upcoming elections with a crushing majority,” wrote Star, a newspaper known for closely following the Turkish government line, in a news piece based on a May 7 editorial published in the British newspaper The Times.

“Even the English have lost hope for the opposition in Turkey,” the Star article continued, referring to a line in the Times piece that said nobody doubted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “will win a landslide victory.”

Star’s article, however, conspicuously avoided providing any context for the quote from the leading article in the Times, failing even to report its headline, “Neither free nor fair.”

The Turkish president had called the upcoming June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections more than a year early “to mire the opposition in disarray and ensure that he can take full advantage of the state of emergency, declared in July 2016 and repeatedly renewed, to impose the curbs on campaigning, the press and free speech that seem guaranteed to make any election neither free nor fair,” the Times article said.

It proceeded to paint a bleak picture of Turkey’s future under Erdoğan, referring to the massive purges taking place since the failed July 2016 coup attempt, the deterioration in the country’s relations with its erstwhile Western allies, and the looming economic problems that it posits motivated the call for early elections.

“Turkey’s economy, once booming and visible testimony to the stability of government by the moderate AK Islamists, is threatened by a market crash. Foreign investors, alarmed by the increasingly authoritarian style of government, are staying away or pulling out,” said the Times.

Without addressing the specific issues in its article, the Star’s report characterised the British newspaper as “envious of Turkey’s growing economy, stable politics, rising democracy and ability to confront all kinds of international plots.”

The Times’s declaration that the Turkish president would be able to win a landslide victory was “the only objective and truthful sentence in an article that attacked Turkey and Erdoğan,” said Star.